4 ways to grow your business in a downturn
July 7, 2023
It’s possible that the UK economy is about to go into freefall. Inflation remains persistently high, and growth remains sluggishly low.
In this article, we look at four ways to buck the trend from leveraging thought leadership PR to buying a competitor.
These four tips will ensure that you continue to grow in a down market, even when everyone else is struggling.
1. Expand into new market
When a downturn hits, it’s easy to batten down the hatches and retreat to what you know best. You double down on your core market, trying to sell more services or products to your existing customers.
But, this can actually end up hurting you rather than helping you. These customers are already likely to be cutting their budgets, and hard sales tactics can end up backfiring.
You might have more success from taking a step back, looking at what other potential customers could benefit from your products and services, and running a completely fresh campaign to reach these new people.
This could be different categories of customers, such as different demographics, or simply customers in different industries or geographies.
When everything is going swimmingly, you probably overlooked these customers because you were happy with how your sales were going. But now you’re starting to struggle, finding new target customers could give you a fresh revenue source.
2. Hunt for an acquisition
A downturn can actually end up turning up new and unexpected opportunities. If you start the downturn in a stronger financial position than your competitors, you may find that these competitors go to the wall or have to cut their businesses dramatically.
This could provide you with a golden opportunity to acquire one of your competitors and their customer base at a very attractive price. On one hand, this might involve you directly approaching your competitor and making the case for the merger.
On the other hand, it might involve you watching our for struggling companies that run the risk of falling into administration that you can buy up for a song. In either case, you might be able to double or even triple the size of your business overnight.
3. Become a thought leader
In a downturn, industries are looking for leadership. It is during difficult times that real leadership is needed. Competitors, customers, and peers are looking for businesses that are leading the discussions about how to act, how to behave, and, most importantly, how to survive.
In fact, during difficult periods, you usually see an uptick in the industry reading sector publications and searching for informative content online. These people are looking for guidance on how to survive and flourish.
As a result, during a downturn, there is a perfect opportunity to lean into thought leadership and content creation to set yourself apart and get your company on the radar of more potential customers.
You can create this content yourself or, if that’s either too difficult or time consuming, you can engage the services of a thought leadership PR agency. These companies will be able to study what your customers are searching for, and craft content in your name to stand out in a crowd thought-leadership marketplace.
4. Invest in advertising
Finally, you might want to consider increasing your investment in advertising.
In a downturn, advertising is usually the first budget line that is cut: in fact, companies usually put the brakes on all ad spending completely, reducing ad spending to zero. That’s understandable. It’s an easy and quick way to save money.
But if everyone is pausing on ad spending too, there could be a big opportunity to have more cut through with advertising than usual. In fact, more than that, if everyone is cutting on ad spending, you’ll usually find that website, magazines, and publications are more willing to cut well-priced deals.
Regardless of what you choose to do, while a downturn can be a difficult and trying time for many businesses, it can also present new and unexpected opportunities.
This article has outlined four left-field ways in which it might be possible for small businesses to keep growing, despite the economic difficulty.
4 ways to grow your business in a downturn